Tracking Your Flare Symptoms in Your Bullet Journal

Earlier this year, I had a lupus flare that made it very difficult to keep up with work and life. Normally, I try to journal a little about how I feel each day during a flare, but pain and swelling in my hands made that pretty difficult, especially after typing all day at work. So, I created a simple tracker for my bullet journal that lets me easily keep an eye on the most important stuff when writing in paragraph format just feels too overwhelming.

I’d love to share this tracker with you in three formats, downloadable below!

  • Bullet Journal layout
  • Printable A5 (half-sheet) Planner format
  • Printable Happy Planner Mini format

This tracker is meant to be very easy to use, and I’ve left some room for you to add additional symptoms, events or activities that you want to keep track of. I’m looking forward to having a full 12 months to reflect on at the end of the year and I also think it will be very helpful to share with my doctor.

Tracker Elements

Pain and Fatigue plotter

  • Keep track of pain and fatigue on a scale of 1-5 with 1 being very little and 5 being nearly unbearable. You’ll probably have different levels throughout the day, but this is an overall score for the entire day. If you find yourself having a lot of ups and downs every day, consider tracking morning and afternoon/night with two different colors on the plotter.

Medications

  • Check off or write a “y” (for yes) on each day that you take your regular medications. This can be crucial in showing how missing medications can affect your symptoms.
  • Check off days when you take symptom relief medications that are not part of your daily medication regimen, like over-the-counter pain relievers or meds your doctor has prescribed for temporary use.
  • IDEA: You could also denote days when you have increased your regular medication (like steroids, DMARDs or anti-seizure medication) during the flare with an “up arrow” or other marker

Daily Symptoms

  • I’ve shown a few different ways to rate things here. I like to rate activity “high, medium and low” and feelings with “good, fair and bad”. This is just how I have always rated things in my journal, but you can certainly use different words and ratings. It’s a good idea to place a key somewhere on your page, especially if you are making copies for your doctor.
  • Think back over your last few flares and add symptoms or other important things you want to track. It could be anything from your stress level to a specific activity such as physical therapy exercises. The important thing to keep in mind is that you don’t need to track everything. If you find that you have the same answer to everything every month, consider eliminating that row from your tracker. That being said, I would never eliminate my medication row, and I also would keep any activity I’m trying to build into a habit so I can see consistent progress and feel great about it (such as “going to bed on time”).

Creating the Tracker

I started by counting how many columns my journal has on the page. This could be different depending on the journal, so be sure to count out 31 columns for days from the right-side so you have enough days! Next, I added the main dividers for the left-side tracking labels and the two main plotters. Finally, I added the labels and the monthly header.

I like to use color to plot and show highs and lows throughout my day. Sometimes I color things on the day I record it, other times (during the flare, especially), I just leave coloring for another time. The important thing is that I tracked, not that I colored the square. 🙂

Here’s a sample tracker I created just as an example of how it looks all filled in for the month.

I hope this helps you as much as it’s helped me and I’d love to hear from you in the comments or by email at jess@pineconepapers.com!

Get a Free Printable!

Flare tracker printable web2

Get the flare symptom tracker - a printable for your planner or BUJO!

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